HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team opened Big West play with an impressive 75-68 road win over Cal State Fullerton Thursday night at Titan Gym.
The Rainbow Warriors improved to 10-5 on the season in a game they dominated from wire-to-wire.
Sharpshooting guard Eddie Stansberry, continued his breakout season scoring a game-high 25 points, including a clutch basket in the final minute to help seal the win against the Titans (5-11, 0-1 BWC).
With the victory, UH has now beaten Fullerton in 15 of the last 17 meetings, including the last five straight.
UH led by double-digits in both halves, but needed to hunker down defensively in the final minutes to halt a late Titan rally, leading to a thrilling finish.
Three Rainbow Warriors joined Stansberry in double-figures, as point guard Drew Buggs tallied 17 points, combo forward Samuta Avea scored all 11 of his points in the first half, and freshman sensation Bernardo da Silva finished the night with his first career-double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) in his second straight start.
The contest was UH’s first game in 10 days however the 'Bows showed no signs of court rust whatsoever.
UH came out of the blocks strong and built a 15 point lead on a pair of occasions early on, before a 13-3 run by the Titans made it a 36-31 game at the intermission.
After intermission the ’Bows went on a 9-2 run out of the locker room to get back to a double-digit lead and held a comfortable 64-48 lead with 8:30 remaining.
However, the Titans in an effort to defend their home court wouldn't subside.
Cal State Fullerton made a late push closing the game to within one, 69-68, on a pair of free throws with a little over a minute remaining.
However, Stansberry answered the call for UH on its next possession with a tough runner in the lane to put the 'Bows up by three – a lead they would not relinquish.
The Rainbow Warriors look to start conference play 2-0 when they face defending league champions UC Irvine on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 7:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. HT.